Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 Guide: Features, Modes & Real Teams
Everything you need to know in order to get the most out of this year's PES.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 is certainly a stunning game (check out our review to find out why), but the game may be very new to some people, especially those who have made the switch from FIFA to PES. We've compiled a guide to help newcomers, and veterans, get to grips with the different features on offer, explaining everything from game modes to tactics and how to get licensed teams in the game.
Getting real teams and emblems onto your game (PS4)
The battle between FIFA and PES has always been a heated one, especially this year, with PES landing licensing deals with Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool. Konami are still missing a lot of licenses, though, but it has been improving its tools for editing and sharing files each year and now it's easier than ever not just to create your own elements with all sorts of little details but also to export them and send to friends for them to import.
If you don't want to create them yourself there are already a bunch of packs available on the internet with pretty decent pictures and data, so that you can now make your game feel authentic. We asked our Pro Evolution expert contact Javier Martínez about how to do this, and he gave us the following instructions on how to import real kits and emblems for the Spanish La Liga and the English Premier League. It's time to forget about MD White and start thinking Real Madrid.
Step 0. What you need.
• Your PlayStation 4 console, preferably updated to its latest system version.
• Your copy of PES 2017 for PS4, with both software and rosters up to date via Live Update. This means you'll have a more stable game and players on the right teams.
• An external USB storage device, formatted to the exFAT file system.
• A PC.
Step 1. Getting the already edited pictures and data.
The best thing about the PES world is undoubtedly its community, and thus there are several sources in which you can search for data packs. We for example opted for the Spanish long-running PESoccerWorld (requires registration), and in this case for the La Liga (23.17 MB) and Premier League (21.92 MB) teams. Again, you can choose any other creation recommended elsewhere.
Step 2. Copying the edited files to a USB drive.
Still on your PC, create a new folder with the name WEPES at the root directory of your USB drive. Inside, drop all the files and images provided by the folders you've downloaded. In our example, its a total of 203 bin and png files. Extract the disk and go to your PS4.
Plug your USB drive into your console, run the game and go from main menu to Extras > Edit > Data Management > Import/Export.
Next, click on Import Images. In our example, we chose Strip (S) and Team Emblems. Start by the kit templates, importing all the pictures available. When the "Importing data" screen is done, you can do the same with the emblems. In this case perhaps you may want to just manually select the emblems, but you can also import all and wait.
As you can see, the Import Images menu also allows you to add Competition Emblems/logos, Manager Photos and even Stadium pictures. They're not included in these packs we've downloaded, but they're just as easy to find.
Once you've imported all the kits, you can repeat the process with the files including the real names and info on the teams. From the Import/Export menu, go to Import Team and select all the bin files available on the USB drive with the Square button. When in the next screen you can tick the second option to add additional data, but it's not necessary. From here, the editor will automatically add kits, emblems and real names to the previously fake teams. For example, Manchester United will overwrite Man Red. It'll take a couple of minutes.
Step 5: Have fun!
When the process is over, you'll get to witness the result both via the menus and inside matches. You now have real teams, and here's some gameplay and screens as proof:
This part of the guide applies to PS4 only. For guidance on other platforms, head this way.
As with any game, regardless of whether it is a sports game or not, having the controls to suit the player is vital. This is where FIFA players may get thrown off as the control systems are very different. We composed a little guide as to how to configure your controls to suit you.
Before starting up any game you should go and edit your personal data. What this means is that you can configure your controls to how you want it for easy selection in the future. To do this, you have to go to the 'Extras' tab in the home menu, select 'Options' and then select 'Edit Personal Data'. You can also do this during a match by choosing 'Select Sides' and then pressing Square or X, for PS4 and Xbox One respectively.
These are all the options that should appear once you select 'Edit Personal Data':
Personal Data Name: This customises the name of the data so you can easily identify which control scheme is yours. Especially useful for consoles with multiple users.
Command Configuration: For FIFA players, the Type 2 Command Configuration is loosely what you need, although for certain controls this may need a bit of tweaking, so Custom options might be necessarily to swap sprint from R1/RB to R2/RT should you require that or anything else.
Cursor Change: How the cursor switches between players in-game. Can be assisted for those who need the help.
Cursor Type: For those who need to see the player's name under the cursor when playing.
Pass Support Level: Different grades of how the game assists you with passing.
Through Ball Type: Customise how through balls are made in the game.
Shot Type: Customise how shots are made in the game.
Free Kick Controls: It will automatically be on reverse, although it can be switched to normal depending on preference. Reverse means the ball spins away from the direction you press on the analogue stick.
Directional Guide: Indicates where to pass to.
Target Guide: Helps with targeting the ball in-game.
Positioning Guide: Helps with positioning in-game.
Auto-Feint: Flourishes and feints occur naturally in-game with technical players. This looks quite cool in-game though, so we'd recommend leaving it on.
Auto-Sliding: Determine if players can slide tackle without your direct permission.
Teammate controls: Assisted is recommended as it determines how your teammates move when you're controlling another player.
After this is all set up and you step onto the pitch, take some time to familiarise yourself with the contents of the 'Help' option on the pause menu. These give a run-down of commands to learn, although not all of these are essential.
A couple of things to point out that will become immediately useful are, firstly, that double-tapping the sprint button (R1/RB unless you configure it otherwise) knocks the ball in front and allows for more speed. Secondly, holding X/A will close down the player with the ball when defending, which is very useful.
Other than that, we would certainly recommend playing through all of the Training games (an explanation of which will be given later in this guide) to get to grips not only with the controls but with how to execute things effectively, ranging from defending to attacking and much more.
As with each year there are plenty of game modes on offer in PES 2017 and with an improved user interface this year finding them has never been easier. Here we run through each of the game modes and give tips on how to make the most of them.
Exhibition Match - This mode is the ideal one for those wanting to play football without any of the dressings of a career mode or a competition. This is also the go-to mode for those wanting to play matches in local multiplayer, as up to four players can play matches on the same console here. Pick your teams, customise settings and play matches - it's that simple.
Tips and Tricks: There are no consequences after the match here, such as cards and injuries, so play without fear... to an extent. You still don't want to lose players through red cards, but if you're really filthy you can take advantage of the injuries that occur in the game and go for the opponent's players. Don't tell anyone we told you that though.
Quick Match - Ideal for those with either little time or little inclination to set up matches with the CPU. These matches are online and see you face off against an opponent in what is quite literally a quick match. Oh, and the scores don't count towards any ranking either, so there's no risk involved, just football.
Tips and Tricks: Again, as with Exhibition Match, there's no risk involved, especially towards your online ranking, so play without fear. Ideally, as with any online mode, you'd rather have a good connection. Other than that, wait to see what your opponent's play style is like and adapt to that. Playing against a real person is very different to a computer, and some might favour long balls, dirty tactics or counter-attacking football, and without guarding against these you could be in serious trouble.
Online Divisions - These divisions are for those who want to challenge themselves and see how good they are in the real world as opposed to computer opponents. Divisions, as expected, get progressively harder as the better players get into the higher ranks.
Tips and Tricks: The same advice as Quick Match applies to all online modes, although it's even more important when points matter. Tactics have to be considered, care has to be taken and mistakes are costly, especially when there are promotions and relegations at stake. Take you time and try to see what your opponent is doing, and remember that sometimes a draw or a 1-0 win is better than nothing.
Friendly Match Lobby - These lobbies are for those who just like a good game of football with a friend. Join a lobby, invite strangers or a friend to come along and play a match with you. A gentler mode with less at stake, this is one for players who both own PES but can't go round each other's houses to sit on the sofa and play.
Tips and Tricks: Friendlies are just that, friendly. This is the perfect thing for online friends to battle it out. The biggest advice is to not be put off by the interface. It's a bit confusing to look at all the lobbies and then set one up and everything, but its quite straightforward once you do it a couple of times. Other than that, it's just like any other match.
Team Play Lobby - These lobbies are for those who want to get as many users together for a match as possible, with up to 22 players being able to play on two teams of 11. Each player then fills a certain position and this offers something very different from the usual modes that see you control all the players on the pitch.
Tips and Tricks: Unless you want to be hated, don't be that guy who never passes and always goes for glory. This, like football itself, is a team game rewarding those who play as a team. Bare in mind, though, that there will be those who don't pass. It's a fact of life. Don't let it get you down though, there's a lot of fun to be had playing in a team.
UEFA Champion's League - PES 2017 has the license for the Champion's League and so, as with previous iterations, you can play it as a tournament as the first option under the 'Competition' tab of the home menus. Konami are clearly proud of this license, and this mode comes complete with the music, the logos and the prestige.
Tips and Tricks: Customise your settings to suit you. Just because it's the Champion's League doesn't mean it's any different from the usual competitions and matches. Also, take some time to appreciate just how faithfully represented the Champion's League is here. Not quite a tip, but something to recognise, especially since rival FIFA doesn't have it.
UEFA Europa League - As with the Champion's League, PES 2017 has the license for the Europa League too, allowing players to partake in the competition and take their team from the group stages to (hopefully) lifting the trophy.
Tips and Tricks: The same as with the Champion's League in the sense that there is plenty to take in and soak up here. Konami really put on a show with their licensed competitions in order to make it feel authentic.
AFC Champion's League - A competition that PES newcomers might not expect to see is Asia's AFC Champion's League, in which 32 teams from the top 10 leagues in Asia compete against each other. This has been faithfully represented in the game, especially as the competition struck a deal with Konami since PES 2014.
Tips and Tricks: Although not what you would normally consider a popular competition the AFC Champion's League is not to be underestimated. Each team is at the top of their game and so there will be tough matches, especially against the best teams in the competition like reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande who even have Jackson Martinez in their squad right now.
League - This isn't just one league, but a selection of many leagues to play in, such as the English League (the Premier League to the rest of us) not to mention the Spanish League and Italian League as well (La Liga and Serie A respectively). These are purely about playing the competition with the focus on the football, not the business, transfers and off-the-pitch activity.
Tips and Tricks: It goes without saying, but the team you pick is important. You may get sick of a team you picked as 'plucky underdogs' very quickly, especially since you have to endure them for a long series of matches. With a huge amount of games it never hurts to experiment as well, giving younger players or those you are unfamiliar with a try.
Cups - This mode is for all the knockout competitions that aren't the Champion's League, Europa League or AFC Champion's League, including the English Cup (presumably the FA Cup) and others. These are often unlicensed and so are less in the spotlight, being hidden behind a menu rather than thrust onto centre stage on the home page.
Tips and Tricks: The same with leagues applies here in regards to picking a team wisely. Also, don't underestimate underdogs and field a weak team against them, as sometimes it doesn't pay off. This can often be fun to play co-op with friends as well since it gives a joint objective for those who don't like to play each other.
Online Competition - Players can test themselves in this mode by entering exclusive online competitions against opponents from across the globe. There are a lot of rules and regulations, including match time and the like, but the crux of it is that qualifying rounds are played, and then knockout rounds, just like any other competition.
Tips and Tricks: For those who consider themselves quite good at the game, this is something to check out. The one downside with this is that players can sometimes lag out of the game and your winning score may count for nothing, although not much can be done to prevent this. As with all competitions, tactics are key, focus is vital, and mistakes hurt.
MyClub - MyClub is a feature very similar to Ultimate Team on FIFA in the sense that you can build a team, acquire players with in-game currency, get managers and much more. This is about building a team, not just playing as that team. You can then put your team up against the rest of the world and prove its worth. A good thing about this mode is that Legends like Rivaldo, Ian Rush and Ronaldihno are available too.
Tips and Tricks: Don't just get one good player and leave the rest bad. One Messi can't pick up a team from mediocrity, no matter how good he is. Take your time to craft one that works, bearing in mind Team Spirit, which is a measure how well the team works together. The instructions and copious amounts of tutorials will help with this though, so don't feel overwhelmed either.
Master League - This is much like League and Cup where you take charge of a team and lead them, making signings and taking charge of off-the-pitch issues as well, like finance. This is for those who want to do the competitions but also want a deeper experience without going into the fictional world of MyClub. The animations and visuals on this are excellent as well, especially since you can see your manager sign papers and everything.
Tips and Tricks: We made a silly looking manager with pink glasses and a bad haircut, thinking he'd be confined to the sidelines and out of sight, but we had to look at him a lot, so try not to make someone too unappealing. As with all sports career modes, make wise signings and consider not only if they're good but if they'll fit into your team as well. There are again a lot of tutorials here so don't get too flustered at the options in front of you when starting.
Become A Legend - This mode lets you take control of one player and lead them to stardom, however, this can be either your own created player or an existing player. You can then see them improve in different aspects of their game as well as potentially winning awards like the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.
Tips and Tricks: When designing your own player, make sure you match them physically to the style of play you're going for. If you want a quick striker, it's probably best not to make them a bulky seven foot giant, for instance. Also, there are plenty of options in terms of what kind of player they will be within their position, like a target man, so choose wisely.
Training - The only playable game mode under the 'Extras' tab of the menus, this allows you to refine your skills in different areas with little mini-games, and all aspects of your game from defending to volleys and headers are available to practice. Trophies are awarded as well, so there's an incentive to play them even if you know the game very well.
Tips and Tricks: There are a few trophies and achievements to win from mastering these, so its worth a go if you're after those. Don't be disheartened if you don't get gold though. Although they say they're training exercises, some of them are quite challenging and require nothing short of mastery to perfect.
So you've got the controls sorted, you know what you're doing and you've started your first match. That's not all there is to it though as tactics will need to be adjusted before and during the game in order to maximise your effectiveness on the pitch. This is where Game Plan comes in, the menu that effectively controls your team and the tactics you apply to them. Here we will run through the basics of Game Plan to make you a tactical maestro in no time.
The crux of it is that the icons at the bottom of the menu, under the team chart when opening Game Plan, are the points you need to focus on. When first starting the game, it will ask you whether you would like Simple Settings on or not. We will go through this, firstly:
As expected, Simple Settings are the easiest options for new players or those who can't be bothered with all the different and detailed options, those who want to change things quickly and easily.
Lineup: This is to see who is on the pitch for your team, who is on the bench and generally manage your squad. Here you can see player ratings, place them in positions, switch formations and adjust to your heart's desire. You can even select players and manually move them about regardless of the confines of the formation. Player faces are a great addition to Lineup this year and make the menus far less boring.
Simple Tactical Settings: This option is particularly good for FIFA players who are used to the thrill of using the D-pad to access quick tactics like counter-attacking and all-out attack. This is where the quick tactics lie, allowing you to dramatically shift your team's layout depending on the situation, such as when a lead needs defending or you're losing in the dying minutes.
Go To Normal Game Plan: This is to get back to the more detailed menus if you find you haven't got enough choice in the Simple Settings.
Normal Game Plan:
This is for those who want a bit more depth to their tactics and like to fine tune their teams, taking a long time to get everything right and consider every option.
Preset Tactics: These include everything from attacking instructions to advanced instructions and have some easier templates to follow, similar to Simple Tactical Settings but with that added bit of depth. A happy medium for those who don't want to go into too much detail themselves. Don't be fooled though, there are still a lot of options to choose from here. Experiment and find which ones work for you.
Lineup: The same as before, allowing you to edit your squad in whichever way you see fit. This matters more if you're applying tactics to this squad, though, and should be considered in conjunction with the specifics of the tactics you are selecting.
Player Settings: Here you can choose which player in your squad fits into which role, and by that we don't mean positions like CB. We mean as in the free kick takers, captain, corner takers and more. Player stats need to be seriously considered before selecting people, and more often than not the most suitable candidate will already be in that role. Don't panic, though, as you can often switch these in matches.
Support Settings: Here you can select how far the game helps you in playing, and the options include everything from Auto Change Attack/Defence Level to Auto Offside Trap. Use this to customise whether you need help or not in specific areas and how hard you want the game to be.
Data Management: This is used to save and load tactical options so you don't have to calibrate your preferences each time. For those who really know how they want their team laid out and need to save some time.
With all of these in mind, and careful consideration of how you play the game, PES 2017 shouldn't prove too difficult even for those who are inexperienced in its particular ways. Get playing, score goals and remember to always think about what you're doing both on and off the pitch. Have fun!